As parents, we all have to say no a lot. No, you cannot have cookies before breakfast. No, you cannot wear your old Halloween costume to school. No, we can’t go to the beach… Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have just one day where we don’t have to say no to our kids?
Jennifer Garner thinks so and helps those wildest dreams come true during a “Yes Day” celebration with her kids, Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel—no matter how much sleep the tradition may cost her.
“You’ll never need coffee more than the day after ‘Yes Day!'” Garner captioned an Instagram pic taken during a backyard camp-out with the kids that was part of their fifth annual Yes Day.
As beloved (and exhausting) as Yes Day may be for the family, Garner noted in her caption that credit for the concept goes to Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of Yes Day!
The sweet children’s book is all about a special day where parents say yes to things like pizza for breakfast, food fights and late bedtimes. It’s beloved by kids, and—according to Amazon reviews—by adults too, so it’s worth adding to the reading list.
And if you’re inspired enough to start another list, consider putting all those crazy requests that come up throughout the year on hold until a Yes Day celebration of your own. (Perhaps with a few stipulations, such as you can still say “no” to getting a pet puppy because all consequences of Yes Day must be confined to the single day.)
Still not convinced about the benefits of a Yes Day?
Some parents who’ve tried their own versions say the fun isn’t just for the kids—and actually offers a fresh perspective on day-to-day parenting. For example, when your child asks you to play a game on a normal day, you might tell him to wait until you finish the laundry. On Yes Day, the laundry gets dropped and it’s game on.
Finding fun in that freedom can give you something to think about every other time you want to say no, says Ginger Carlson in a post for The Natural Child Project. As she explains from her experience, when we reflect on how often we say “No” or “Wait a minute,” we might find ourselves saying yes more often. The exercise is also a great way to break out of a power struggle with your child and build connections while building up their autonomy.
While a year of Yes Days would result in household chaos (and likely cavities from all the junk food), one day filled with, “Yes, yes, yes” is a reminder that sometimes the laundry can wait.
[Correction, July 6, 2018: The original post listed Tom Lichtenhelp as a co-author of Yes Day! He illustrated the book.]